Sunday 30 April 2017

Fogarty backs Byrne to underline Blues' depth

Leinster coach John Fogarty has confidence in Ross Byrne
Leinster coach John Fogarty has confidence in Ross Byrne
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Leinster scrum coach John Fogarty is confident that Ross Byrne will handle the pressure of playing at the Aviva Stadium tomorrow evening.

The province's talent pool has again been tested this week but after overcoming some understandable early nerves, Byrne acquitted himself well in Franklin's Gardens.

The young out-half has had to remain patient for his chance but having starred for the Ireland U-20s as well as the Leinster 'A' team, Byrne is ready to seize his opportunity, according to Fogarty.

"It's not ideal, but look, we've had injuries in the past and there's good strength in depth, as there always is in this province," he said.

"You saw Ross come on and do a great job. Ross is there and that's the beauty of this province. Making sure that we've got good strength in depth.

"He's able to step in, he did a great job at the weekend and he potentially has a chance to tee up in the Aviva in front of hopefully 40,000 people. I think the lads stepped up very well.

"Stuart (Lancaster) and Leo (Cullen) had them unbelievably well prepped, making sure they are ready for these occasions.

"There's really good alignment, and there always has been in this province, from 20s to 'A's to seniors. There's a lot of similarities in key positions with those leaderships roles, and that's helped massively with players like Ross able to step in last weekend to perform."

Fogarty also praised the impact that Rory O'Loughlin has had this season. The centre has impressed and Fogarty believes that he will continue to improve.

"He's a great kid. He had to work out some awful injuries during his academy years and there's always this kind of hope that he would get himself fit and stay fit, because we knew how good he was. He's quick, he's a great brain and he's got great feet. It was great to see.

"For us to see Ross come in, and Rory, for those good moments to happen is really important for their confidence coming in to this weekend, next weekend and the rest of the season."

Irish Independent

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